10 Ways to Improve Your Recovery with Healthy Eating
Salads are great, especially in summer when lettuce is plentiful, cheap, and fresh. But after a while, all the chopping can get tedious, and trying to come up with different combinations of proteins, greens, garnishments, and dressings can get boring.
The good news is that there are a lot of ways to improve your recovery by eating healthy, which means you are not required to eat salads every day. The important thing is to get a range of nutrients in a way that is most bioavailable to the body to help you to repair after active addiction. This is best accomplished not through supplements – or by eating the same salad everyday – but by changing it up and rotating new foods into your diet.
Here are 10 easy ways to keep your diet consistently interesting and healthy while getting the optimum physical and mental health effects in recovery:
- Blend it. Smoothies are an easy way to get a bunch of different foods into one meal, and in the summer heat, they can be refreshing and hydrating as well. You can throw a handful of spinach in with fruits, yogurt, and ice to sneak greens in with little alteration to taste, and you can also freeze the leftovers into popsicles and have them on the go as well.
- Mix it in. Quinoa is a whole grain, but it’s technically a seed, so you get to feel like your carb-loading while you’re actually bulking up on your protein intake. It is a nice and light way to fill up while staying cool in the hot weather, and it is highly versatile, making it a great base for a savory or sweet “salad,” served hot or cold. Use it as a way to get rid of all the leftover odds and ends you have in the refrigerator before they go to waste.
- Scramble it. Similarly, eggs are quick and easy, making them perfect for the summer since you won’t have to slave away in a hot kitchen to prepare them, no matter how you like to eat them. Plus, you can throw in a little bit of this and that veggie-wise to keep it healthy, unique, and interesting. While you can scramble them quickly, you can also make a quiche or a frittata just as easily to change up your menu.
- Chop it. Fruits and berries offer you antioxidants and other vitamins and nutrients that you can’t easily get any other way, and in the summer, many are freshly harvested. You can even pick your own strawberries and/or blueberries, peaches, and more in different parts of the country. Apple season starts in the fall once you’ve gotten your fill of summer fruits.
- Add greens. Whether you are making sauce, a sandwich, a quesadilla, or lasagna – pretty much any meal – you can make it a little bit healthier by throwing in some greens and fresh herbs. A layer of spinach in your lasagna, pureed basil in the sauce, or a sandwich or quesadilla stacked with fresh kale – there is no shortage of opportunities.
- Pick a veggie, any veggie. Don’t stop at greens when it comes to mixing vegetables into the meals you are already making for yourself. You can grate up carrots and hide them in almost anything, from meatballs to muffins. Dice up tomatoes to thicken up a soup or sauce. Add peas to anything. In fact, if you are more of a “heat it up” person than a “cook it” person, this one is really easy. Just grab bags of a range of different frozen vegetables, and every time you heat up a Lean Cuisine or a can of soup, throw in your choice of any cup of vegetables.
- Starfruit, anyone? When was the last time you had a starfruit? A fresh fig? A plantain? A kumquat? The beauty of our global economy is that you can pretty much try anything; you just have to look for it, overcome your misgivings, and give it a shot.
- Don’t forget to drink. Water, that is, and lots of it. Start the day with a tall icy glass of water and make sure you are drinking a full glass at every meal and in between as well. Especially during the summer, staying hydrated is important, impacting your physical as well as your mental health and energy levels.
- Keep it whole. Whole grains and whole foods can help you to keep it simple and keep meals healthy in recovery. This means avoiding all the processing that creates foods that are packed with too much sugar, salt, soy, and other fillers that can be harmful to your health. You want the ingredient list on the box to be fully comprehensible. Better yet, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, buy ingredients to put together meals, and whip up whatever sounds good.
- Eat mindfully. This means thinking ahead when it comes to meals and making sure you have healthy options on hand so you don’t grab something quick and unhealthy when you get hungry. It also means preparing a plate for yourself rather than eating out of a box or bag, and sitting down to do nothing but eat – no phone or TV to distract you.
How do you eat healthfully in recovery, especially when it gets hot and dealing with the kitchen is too much to handle?